DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
GENERAL LAND OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D.C., June 20, 1899.
ADDRESS ONLY THE
COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE
of Indian Affair.
I have the honor to transmit, herewith, a copy of
a letter and a report made by Special Agent Frank Grygla,
Juneau, Alaska, under date of December 23, 1898, of a meeting
held December 14, 1898, of certain Chiefs of the Alaska tribe
of Indians "better known as Thlingit tribe", in the presence
of and with the assistance of the Hon. John G. Brady, Governor
The letter and report treating of matters directly
within the jurisdiction of your department are submitted for
such consideration and action as you may deem proper.
MEETING HELD IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL HOUSE OF JUNEAU, ALASKA, BY
REQUEST OF INDIAN CHIEFS ON ACCOUNT OF THE PRESENCE OF HIS
HONOR, GOVERNOR JOHN G. BRADY. CHIEFS OF THE DIFFERENT TRIBES
DESIRING TO MAKE THEIR COMPLAINTS TO THE GOVERNOR RESPECTFULLY.
ASKING HIS HONOR AND AGENT OF THE GOVERNMENT PRESENT TO ASSIST
THEM IN GETTING TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND CONGRESS
IN SESSION SUCH RELIEF IN AN ENACTMENT OF LAWS AS WILL AT LEAST
PARTIALLY RELIEVE THEIR COMPLAINTS MADE TO THE GOVERNOR. THE
MEETING HELD DECEMBER 14TH, 1898. COMPLAINTS HAVE BEEN TRANSLAT-
ED BY THE GOVERNMENT INTERPRETER, MR. GEORGE KOSTROMETINOFF, AS
Chief Kah-du-shan, ftom Wrangel: -
Long time ago before the
white people came to this country, Thlingit had laws and at every
village there was a chief, some villages two or three chiefs.
Now around Wrangel [Wrangell] we have names of different mountains, different
creeks, bays, points, all have names. Around Taku the Thlingit
gave names in different points, islands, mountains, as well as
Chilkat and other places. Three principal rivers in this country
through which the natives of the country would go into interior are
Stickeen River, Taku River and Chilkat River. The Sitka Thlingit
as well as Hoonah and they go to Yakutat. Ever since I have
been a boy I have heard the names of different points, bays, islands,
mountains; places where Thlingit get herring, hunting and make
camps, that is why I think this country belongs to us.
Long, tong time ago before white people came to this country
our people lived here are certain places where they went hunting and
fishing. When the Russians were here they did not have any stores
in the interior but they used to Trade with our people here (means
on the coast). I was a boy when this country was purchased and
soldiers came here to Wrangel and to Sitka. There was a captain
by name of Smith who told us that Americans had purchased this
country. Then the business men followed the soldiers. They
commenced to trade with our people. Our people did not object;
did not say any thing to them. By and by they began to build
canneries and take the creeks away from us, where they make sal-
mon and when we told them these creeks belonged to us, they would
not pay any attention to us and said all this country belonged
to President, the big chief at Washington.
We have places where we used to trap furs; now the white man
get up on these grounds. They tell us that they are hunting for
gold, but the judges and governor tells them to took for gold.
We know that the while people get lots of gold [struck through] money out of these
places as well as out of the Yukon River. Here at this place
as well as other places they take our property, take away ground,
and when we complain to them about it, they employ a lawyer and go
to Court and win the case.
There are animals and fish at places where they make
homes. We are not fish. We like to live like other people live.
We make this complaint because we are very poor now. The time
will come when we will not have anything left. The money and
everything else in this country will be the property of the white
man, and our people will have nothing. We meet here tonight for
the purpose for you to write to the chief at Washington and to let
them know our complaint. We also ask him to return our creeks and
the hunting grounds that white people have taken away from us.
Of course we are not as powerful as white people. We have no
soldiers. We have no strength. We ask the big chief at Washing-
ton as children ask their fathers. The missionaries and teaches
tell us that no one but God made the people. We know that the
same God made us. And the God placed us here. White people are
smart; our people are not as smart as white people. They have a
very fine name; they call them- selves white people. Just like the
sun shining on this earth, They are powerful. They have the
power. They have men of wars. It is not right for such power-
ful people as you are to take away from poor people like we are,
our creeks and hunting grounds. Among our people we have chiefs.
We have nice people, that is why I think the white people are
Long time ago our fathers used to tell children who was the
chief and what happened tong time ago and that is why we know
how the chiefs are made and what our ancestors used to do.
Present are Johnson, Koogh-see, and another young man who are
chiefs, and also old man by name of Shoo-we-Kah. We do not
ask the whole of Alaska. We simply ask the President to give
us a ground where we can raise vegetables and places where we can
hunt and prepare fish. We do not want all these things we ask
for by force. We have eyes, and we have sense. We see you
are powerful. We do not want to be angry with you. We want to be
friends with you. We simply wish you to give us all these things.
What I am saying to you now are the words of our people of a great
many different villages, Taku, Sitka, Chilkat, and other places.
We get married; take wives from one village to the other, and what
I am saying to you now are the words of our Thlingit.
Chief Johnson (Yash-noosh) from Juneau, Chief of the Takou
has said he told you the truth. We have not said anything to you for
long time, for many years. We have not said anything to you
since Russians lived in this country. All the people would like
to say something to the governor. We are perfectly willing to
give this country Alaska to you. We know this is our country.
How long we have been living here we do not know; very tong time.
I do not know whether the lawmaking people living at Washington
get any pay--the man who teach the people to be good. We do not
know anything about the United States law, the law that the Gov-
ernor knows. Things that I am saying now did not used to happen
in olden days. The government now sells land. Our people we
have simple patches of ground raising vegetables and place where
our people go hunting; creeks where they fish, we want you to give
them back to us. We never be any trouble with the white people
of America. We love you as children love their parents. Now
we know that the United States have a great deal of trouble with
Indians in the states about the land. We never had trouble
with you. We are perfectly willing that you should have Alaska.
We did not know that the Russians sold this country; of course we
know it now. When the American soldiers came to this country
that was the first time that we heard that this country was sold by
the Russians. The Indians in the States made great deal of
trouble for you about the land.. We never make any trouble. We
love you. We love you as our friends. The Thlingit are getting
poor because their ground is taken away from them. We ask you to
give to the Thlingit the places that brought us food. If you
refuse to do that then our people will starve. All these people
came here for the purpose to tell you what they want so you can
tell the chief in Washington. We have not been talking to you for
long time, but now we are compelled to talk to you because white
are taking all those places away from us. Places where
we used to make food. I like to say more but I would not say
any thing now as several people present who would like to
talk to you.
Chief Koogh-see fom Hoonah: -
We would like to ask Governor
question, Why the people get arrested and tried in Court?
Governor Brady: For violating the laws that we have on our
[Chief Koogh-see fom Hoonah:]
Yes, I heard that our people get arrested and tried in Court
because they broke law. I was not quite sure, that is why I
asked the question. It is true what Kah-du-shan has said; we
believe that Alaska belongs us. In all his country long time
ago before we ever saw white men, our fathers and grandfather
told us we owned if. In those days we had our own customs. We
believed and done things our way in those days, but lately mission-
aries came here and commenced to tell us different. They tell
us that everything that is on this earth, wood, water and every
thing else, is created by God. The trees grow for the purpose
that we can make use of them and make houses of. And different
animals were created by God for purpose of giving us clothing and
food. Now deers is made for purpose to eat; bears and other
animals also. Now you see up to the present time blankets are
made out of martin skins. That is the kind of blankets we used
to have long time ago out of links, fox, and bear. God made the
rivers for the purpose that we drink the water and he also made
fish for to go in the river. We have been living here a long
time. Our ancestors used to live here and had possession of
different creeks and different places. Since white
men came to this country, things have changed. They take these
things away from us for the purpose of enriching themselves.
There are lots of things here which white men can
make money out of. There is lots of gold in this country. We do not
know anything about mining. White men can mine. We do not want
them to interfere with us. We make our living by trapping and
fishing and hunting, and white men take all these places away from
us; they constantly interfere with us.
Now not very far from the place where I live is Lituya Bay,
where our people, our ancestors, used to go hunting for sea otters
and hair seals. Now that place is taken away from us. Great
many schooners going there. White people are there now. These
white men, when they make camp, they make lots of smoke. That
scares animals, sea otters especially. That ground is very good
for sea otter hunting. We went up there, 20 or 30 canoes and
hunted around all summer and did not get any. The smoke scares
the animals away. And when we talk to those white men, they say
that country does not belong to us, belongs to Washington. We
have nothing to do with that ground.
All our people believe that Alaska is our country. I have
been down to Seattle, and Tacoma. I have seen very nice towns.
I have seen how white men live, and I like it very much. Now
supposing I came back here and told my people, the leading men such
as Kah-du-shan. to go down to Seattle and Tacoma. I have seen
white men raising at those towns all kinds of fruit and vegetables.
Suppose I tell these people to go with me on certain days to burn
certain ground and next day same thing and third day same
thing and destroy all these things, don't you suppose the white
people would say something to us if we destroyed all these grounds
by fire and get on places where white people goats and other
animals and commenced to shoot them. That is why I ask you,
Governor, to return all these things which white men took away
from us. Creeks, for instance, where we make dry fish, places
where we trap. We make our living altogether by trapping and
hunting, and I ask you to give all these places back. And if
white men should like to take possession of any of these places,
we should like to ask you to tell them to not take them for nothing
but to pay for them.
Chief Kah-ea-tchiss, from Hoonah: -
Ever since I have been a
little boy, I have heard of the white people. I heard that the
Russians lived in Sitka. Thingilt by the name of Lin-ko-lich
came over to our place and told us all about it. Our people have a
language of our own, and this Lin-ko-lich acted as interpreter.
This Lin-ko-lich told us that the white people came here it would
be much better for us. We have found out as last. We know how
it is now. We believe now Lin-ko-lich every thing he said. He
said there will be no fort or blockade. The Thlingit are not
going to kill any white people. They are going to be friendly
Our ancestors used to deal in furs. They had blankets made
out of different furs. We are different from them. We dress
different. Now our fathers told us where they used to go and hunt
the sea otter. This man who spoke before me said the truth.
They used to go to a. place called Lituya Bay. Used to get lots
of the otter there for making clothes and blankets. I have got
a paper here that I would like the governor to see and also a
medal that my ancestors got from the Russians. (Document in
Russian language, dated July 23, 1840. Small silver medal.)
I feel very bad now the way the while men treat us. I would
like you to tell white people to pay us for this ground. When a
man goes in a store and buys different things, he pays for them.
He does not take those things for nothing when he leaves the
store. That is why I should like you to tell your people to
do the same thing to us. When we tell the white people to pay
for this ground they refuse to make any payment for the ground and
say this land belongs to Washington, we have nothing to do with it.
Now in early days we used to kill lots of sea otter at Lituya
Bay; now we kill but very few. The white people makes lots
of smoke, and smoke drives sea otter away from those grounds. Lots
of schooners are going to that bay and different boats. The sea
otter are scared and keep away from those grounds. We would like
the white people to pay us a little for going into that bay.
Chief Shoo-we-Kah, from Juneau:-
Much has been said by the
white chiefs to our people, but nothing has been accomplished, and
now we want to talk good so it will have some weight to do some
good. In the beginning of this place (Juneau) I was here all
by myself. Only one house and I was living in that house. Dick
Harris is here, and Joe Juneau is another who knew me at that
time. After that I went over to Silka, and on arrival there
the head man at the town of Silka called me over to his house.
That chief gave me a. paper which I have in my pocket. (Letter
of recommendation given by Mr. Bean, dated 1880) I give you that
for purpose that you would not think I was not telling truth.
He said then that white people will come to your place and that
"I want you to take good care of them. White people will do the
same thing to you. They will look after you. Not only yourself
but all your friends." Right there on the beach in front of the
town now I had a garden, and on that clear place white people
camped. Now you have heard to-day the complaints of several of
our people. They claimed that the white people imposed upon them
and I would like to ask you to-day something to help us. Here
in the basin (near Juneau) I discovered a fine rock and made a
mark on that rock and afterwards took white people there and show-
ed them the place. When I was doing that I thought white people
would take good care of us, to look after us and especially take good
care of me when I got old. But white men did not do as I expect-
ed. Now with us Thlingit, when a chief want to pay a certain
man a piece of ground, he says, you take this ground and take
possession of it. White men do not do that. We are at a loss
to know what to do. Now I ask you to appoint a certain man
at a certain village, here or at Taku, or any other place, and that
he must took after that village. I know that down below ( The
States ) that a man possessed a certain property and another man
comes along , and wants that properly, he pays for it. We built
this house and paid money for it. We paid for everything in
this house, and take good care of this house. And in different
villages here our people have property just like this house, and
I would ask you to take good care of it and see that no one inter-
feres with it. All I ask you is to take good care of us. Now
we do not know what we are to do as we are like a certain an in
a canoe. The canoe rocks; we do not know what will become of
One white man by name of Tom made good deal of trouble for me
and there is certain creek here that I claim and he camped there
and took possession of it; cut trees down and does not pay me
Our people have dogs. We keep them for hunting purposes.
I have dogs also and white men kill Dogs. Those dogs are worth
about $20. That is what miners going into Yukon pay. I have
taken words of chief at Sitka / here is the paper which you saw.
I was the first one who made friends with the white men here. Now I
feel very bad because white men took possession of my property
and that is not the way to do. (Refers here to creek
near Basin back of Juneau) I cannot fish there. Of course the
white man chop wood there, and I want the white man to pay for that
property. I have been in the dark. Very dark now. Give me
light, that is what I ask of you now, so that I can see. White
men came here promiscuously. I never stopped white men coming
in this place. Lots of timber here; I never stopped them from
cutting timber. Every thing I possess I give to the white
people, now I am an old man and have not any thing left.
Some of my people do not behave themselves, especially on
Christmas and will get to fighting. They get clubs and slicks
and strike each other with clubs and some strike with knives.
I want that to be stopped. Long time ago when I was a little boy
white man found this country by name Mr. Daub. This white man
by name of Daub, he made a chief here of one of my ancestors.
Now I have taken his place and got his name. Whenever that
steamer came here, our people would put good dress on, and especially
our chief would put nice things on, a cap and good clothes and
come on board that steamer. I like you to appoint some chief
here to represent all our people. I ask you to help me and do
what I request you to do to appoint some chief here.
I was policeman at one time and was discharge without receiv-
ing any pay. That is why none of my friends and relatives are
policemen now. I worked very hard. You talk lots; white people
promise much but do not derive any benefit from it. I want to
ask all the white men present here to tell me what you are going
to do in the future and how you are going to keep us.
Chief Ah-na-tlash, from Taku:-
I have lived a good many
years. You see I am old man now. Russians used to be here.
Russians used to be in Sitka, They never used to treat Thingit
like they are treated now. They did not do anything to the
ground like the white people do now. White people take the
ground away from us. When Vice President was here I went to him
and complained to him and told him how the Thlingit are treated
here. I asked Vice President also to give the same town what the
President had. When we have trouble with the white people about
the ground they get very angry and want to fight us. Now we want
you, Governor, to put a stop to that. Now salmon runs up the
Taku river and this salmon our people get for food. Now white
people come early in the spring there before the ice breaks to
catch fish there. There is no store there, and Taku people
make their living by catching salmon. If I was living at Taku
now, I think I would starve because on the account of salmon.
The white men here all our ground to other white people and
have a great deal of trouble about it. There are lots of good
places below; we do not want those kind of white people here.
We do not them to come up here and interfere with us.
When I was young I used to go very often. I was well off then
and did not have so much trouble as I have now. Now I am old
and have a good deal of trouble with white people and have not
so much money as I had then. We have a great deal of trouble
about the creeks and ground, and they have a great deal of trouble
tnd [and] I ask you to put a stop to it. Also that another Thlingit
from Taku if he was here would say the same thing to you. I am
very glad indeed to be present here and talk with you. I know
most of the Tlilingits here have something to say to you.
Charley, of Juneau:-
I would like to say a few words to you
but would like to know first what these people are talking about.
I was present and heard some man talking but in the beginning
did not know what Indians wanted here and did not know what they
were talking about.
Mr. Grygta: Chief Johnson asked us personally to be present
at a meeting to hear about complaints of the Thlingit and hear
what they all had to say.
Charley: Our people have a great deal of trouble now,
especially on the other side. [Douglas Island). The company
there have a village where the people live and when they want the
ground they simply move us from one place to another. Now our
people had several creeks around where they used to prepare food
for the winter. Now all the creaks are claimed by the com-
pany (Treadwell Gold Mining Company)2 Of course our people
feel very bad the way the white men act. They never tell us what
they are going to do. White men go and do without notifying
us or tell us what to do and they put notices on the premises.
And if you make a complaint and go into court, we are notified that
it is too late now, that the paper is recorded and nothing can
be done. That is why all our people feel very bad, and I am
afraid we will have some trouble about it by and by. Of course
you have heard a great deal from people here about the complaints
and troubles; about the customs and different things and I ask you
to help us to make us feel good and try to do something for us
so that we can be better and feel better. Of course we do not
know what we are going to do but would like to hear from you.
Jack Williams, of Juneau, talks with the help of Fred Moore
The reason why I want Fred to translate my talk
to the governor is that I want my people to hear what I have to
say. It is wanted by the town that our people should make a
complaint before you. We have the same flesh as those Indians
living down below in the States and we know that the Government
of the United States has provided food, clothing, houses for them
in every year. And sometimes the rail road company want
to build their toad through the land of the natives and the owners make
agreement with the natives that they have free travel if they give
land to the company. So that the owners give free rides. It is
quite a distance away from our people to those people down in the
States. The places which we are living in now we hear the white
people call it the territory of Alaska, and those people living
down in the states, the white people call it the States. We
are not like those people. They are supported by the Government
of the United States and this is the first opportunity we have
had to make our complaints before the government of our needs.
When we were small our fathers and uncles used to tell us about the
great chiefs and high class of people and we used to believe them;
and since we became old we find it out the difference between
our chiefs and the white people's chiefs. We know which ones
have the power. We know that Alaska was purchased by the American
people from the Russians, and now days the white people has come up
here to settle among our villages. When these white people first
came around our villages we were glad to see them. We knew they
would give us some work to do. They employed us for a short
time then all at once we find out that great many white people
rushed here and took our work, and we did not know which way to
turn to give us employment. And when we could not find any
thing to do we go out hunting after bear; fish for halibut. Then
also these white people took it away from us, these our hunting
grounds. We are now bringing before you our condition and we
would submit to you for we do not know which way to turn. We
would like to know from the Government what we should do for our
living, and how we are going to get it. We sometimes think that
the best thing that the Government can do for us is select two
places where we could make our homes as the people do at Port
Chester near Metlakahtla [Metlakatla]. Sometimes I go down to Seattle and
I always feel proud when I stop at Port Chester to see those
people away from trouble. The white people does not bother
them, and they have nice homes. I hear what the other people
was saying in their complaints before the Governor this even-
ing. We have seen how the white people have treated our people
sitting here. So it comes in my mind how these people become
civil people, those living down in Port Chester with Mr. Duncan.
So we think that if the government should do with us the same as
with the people down at Port Chester, give us two places where we
could live by ourselves and have our property and homes where the
white people could not bother us.
GOVERNOR JOHN G. BRADY'S ADDRESS TO THE THLINGIT AT THE
POW-WOW IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL HOUSE, JUNEAU, ALASKA, DECEMBER
I am very glad that you are thinking, but what I have heard
here to-night it is in my mind to say that there is trouble ahead
for them if they entertain such notions as they have expressed
here. I am glad to know they are thinking and am sorry that is
has not begun several years ago. Many expressions have been
given here if entertained are bound to wind up in trouble to
When the United States bought this country of the Russians
they paid $7,200,000. They made a law or treaty — a great law —
between the United States and Russia. I will only read one
section so that you can hear what they had to say about the
people in the Territory. (Section of the treaty read).
It was agreed between the United Stares and Russia that the
former should accept the uncivilized tribes, but the Russians
who wanted to live here should be under the protection of the
United States. The uncivilized tribes shall be subject to land
laws and regulations as the United States may choose to adopt
from time to time for the aborigines. The Russian people regarded
the Thlingit as savages, as sort of wild men who could not be
trusted. (Diagram showing Sitka blockaded to prevent attacks
of the Thlingits). Some of those pieces and spikes are there yet
so that the Thlingits could not climb over the blockade. I have
some as curisoties. Ask them if I am not telling the truth.
When an Indian went there with furs, they had a little hole in the
fence and the Indian would stick the furs through it. Now we
see the condition of these people when the United States bought
this country. They did not consider them as civilized people;
not as people who could read and write and could not do anything.
Now the United States has treated them kindly and proposes to treat
The Russians had some reason to be afraid of them. They
killed all but two one time at Sitka. The Russians were afraid
of them. The Thlingit have not always been kind and loving and
good. They have been bad just like the whites have been bad.
It is nearly twenty one years since I came to Alaska and it was
then that I saw the Thlingit for the first time. Some of these
boys here to-night were babies then – little bits of fellows. If
I had me picture of old Sitka to show you the houses and the
stockade you could see the difference of the Thlingit then and
now. The Indians had very few cabins and clothes. They had
very few shoes and blankets. It was very seldom that they had a
pair of shoes. They were buying molasses then. They sold
their furs for molasses. Nearly every week in Sitka the first
year I was there there was a murder. There was one Chief, a
brother of Koogh-see who went across to the island and got into a
fight with one Indian, who bit one check off, and another fellow
took a spade and chopped him on the head.
Now to-day you go to Sitka and see how those people are living and
what kind of houses they have; see how they look and
behave. Are they the same kind of people? There is $100 in that
ranch now for every 50 cents when I came there. And I would say
that if some of those people were here tonight they would not talk
like these people here. I know that the Thlingit are better off
today than they ever were before in their lives. I know that
Yash-noosh there, has handled more money and has been more of a
man than any of his uncles.
Now take 50 years ago — 40 years ago —could his uncle have
gone down to Fort Simpson without a fight? Now the United
States after it bought Alaska did not pass any laws for a number
of years. They simply sent soldiers here. I often think a
wrong was done to the Thlingit. It was not until 1854 that the
United States made a civil law for Alaska but it was very careful
in that law to say that any lands occupied by natives or claimed
by them should not be disturbed in their possession.
Now it is my duty; it is the duty of every government official
to see that that law is obeyed. But I am afraid that the
Thlingit are entertaining wrong notions of how much land they own.
Right here they need a little instruction. Koogh-see he has been
down below and has seen fruit and vegetables growing. He said
what would the white people say if the Indians would come down
there and burn the ground and kill the white people’s goats.
Now Koogh-see is not thinking rightly. He is not thinking
correctly. Those places that he saw and admired so much is the
result of a great deal of work. God did not make the fields
and did not make all the roads, but he made the men, and men had
to do all the labor. Now if any Tilingit in this country goes
and does like wise / and by his labor makes fence, improves ground
and builds a house, it is the duty of every official to see that
he is undisturbed.
Now it is a different thing if there is a stream here and the
ground around it. The Indian cannot claim the whole district.
(Diagram showing creek and district ). The government does not
for a moment recognize all that ground his. The government so
far has sold very little ground in Alaska. The laws remain yet
to be made. We have a mining law that has been in use in Alaska
and anybody can buy an placer or quartz mine. Any body can
buy a mine. But the law of other kinds of land is not in force
yet. And that is why it is important that we have an understand-
ing with the Thlingit. The question is, Do you wish to be put
on an island and not abandon your old customs? Do you wish to
be citizens of the United Slates and have their protection? It is
for you to say. Shall we, for instance, take a large island
like Admiralty island (Draws map of island on Board). Shall
we take the different tribes and place them on the island and let
them live by themselves and not be disturbed and have agents over
them to keep them straight? Or do you wish to obey the white
men's laws; have all the privileges that he has. Which do you
It says in this law that the uncivilized natives will be under
the laws of the uncivilized tribes in this country. The laws
that will be passed by Congress will depend very much what Mr.
Grygla, myself and others will recommend. This is plain talk
and I hope they have not misunderstood me. I have made them a
study and know that the best way is to talk plain. I am satis-
fied that wrongs have been done by fishermen in canneries by dam-
ing up streams, but we could not get vessels to go around to
them. They will be protected as far as the fish is concerned.
So far as what Koogh-see says, one of his ancestors sold all
that Lituya Bay country to the King of France and by the bargain
his own ancestors made he realty has no right to it. Now about
that matter of the sea otter around the coast. The sea otter
is run out for the reason that the Thlingit never spare them.
They never hunt in such a way as to save the young.
In your country I was very glad to see the Hoonas. They
are very nice, clean race of people. I was up there twenty years
ago with Glan-ole. His chief and I know they are better off
many times over today than then. One of the great things that
has helped them is that missionaries have gone amongst them and
taught them things. But as a people they have not had any pride
for they have allowed their girls to be bought by every white
man that has gone up there. It is very difficult for nice,
healthy young men to get a good healthy wife. Lots of these
young men have to take women for wives who have been living
with white men and are diseased, and if they have children, they are
diseased. Such men as Yash-noosh and other chiefs are to blame.
I know that from Sitka 50 girls have come over here and died here.
Many of their parents came with them and took them around to
the miners and tried to sell them. Now if they continue this thing
they are doomed as a race. These are things to think about that
concern yourselves most intimately.
Mr. Waldsley writes me that he must have protection down here.
He says the Indians persist in getting drunk and I will now have
to ship in Chinamen to do the work at Clawala. How much has he
spent, money going out to the Thlingit? He spends from $12,000
to $14,000 each year. Those Thlingit have got just as good
brain as the Chinamen. They know how to do the work. But they
insist on gelling drank. He will have a pile of fish and they
will spoil because the Thlingit are drunk. Mr. Spoon tells me
he has the same trouble. He will have to employ Chinamen next
year. Now I do not want the Thlingit to tell me they are poor
and cannot earn a. living in this country. Every Thlingit can earn
a living like I can.
I used to keep store in Sitka. When I started in Ho-ka
sold me twenty-one cords of wood. I paid $2.25 per cord in
trade. The price of flour at that time was $2.50 a bag. The
price of sugar was 20 cents a lb. The price of a can of milk
was 40 cents, I am satisfied that for the last eight or ten
years the price of the same kind of wood has not been less than
$5 a cord. Today it is $6. You can get the same kind of flour
for $1.40 a bag; you can get 16 lbs. of sugar for $1, and every-
thing else is the same way. And yet it is harder to buy cord
wood today than twenty years ago. These are facts. I am not
guessing at any thing. These are facts. It will not do for any
of these men to talk to me as they have. They must think I am
Now I tell them that I am glad they are thinking, but they
must be careful to think on what is right, and what is accurate
and true. Now I propose to help them all I can. They will get
their rights, and if any appropriates a piece of land, I will see
that he holds it. If they want to become citizens of the United
States then I will advocate that. If they do not want that and
want to be pat off on some island by themselves I will do that.
But the time has come; it is now the turning point in their lives
as a people; they will have to think. I would like to have a
longer time to talk. I have not said near what 1 had in mind
to say to them but they can see that I am in earnest. I am not
fooling with them; I am telling them the truth. The Land
Commissioner has decided that the Indian can take up a quartz
claim, record it and hold it. I thanked him for his decision,
and when I was in Washington I told him that I thought that was
the way to decide. There are many other things that I had in
mind but will stop now.
(Interpreted to the Thlingit by Fred Moore.)
MR. FRANK GRYGLA’S ADDRESS TO THE THLINGIT AT THE POW-WOW
IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL HOUSE, JUNEAU, ALASKA, DECEMBER 14TH, 1898.
When I first came to Alaska eight years ago and went to Sitka,
Governor Brady introduced me to the Chief of the Thlingit and took
me down to the Indian village to show me how they were progress-
ing and improving. Now this was done for the purpose so that
when I returned to Washington I could impress on the minds of the
Senators and law makers of the United States that the Thlingit
should not be confused with the Indians of the Western States.
Governor Brady always considered the Thlingit the equal of the
white man if they were educated and cared for. That is if they
wanted to be educated and cared for.
Now if it is your intention to class yourselves with the
Western States Indian it is all right, but I think it is a dis-
honor to you and against your own interests. We think the
Thlingit almost equal to the white men, but if you do not want
to be educated, we cannot help you.
I was astonished and surprised when I returned to Alaska
this year and see what the Thlingit have accomplished in eight
year's time. When I first saw them their houses were like the
tents of white men just coming to locate a city and when I see them now
they have houses like the white men have after being in a city
ten years. I was surprised when Governor Brady showed me how
they improved and advanced when they tried. Now if you want
to lake advantage and advance yourselves, all the officials and
missionaries are willing to help you. I only add what the
Governor told you to think for yourselves but in the right way.
Now I as the official agent am sent by the government to look
after several matters, and the governor kindly assists me to see
to it as the head of the Government for Alaska, that we have the
evidence to report to Washington on this question.
You must decide yourselves whether you are to be classed
as aborigines like the wild men of the West, but do not ask us
afterwards what we should do. You must think for yourselves and
decide whether you want to be American citizens or want to live
in your old customs. You must conclude on that. You should
take advantage while the Governor is in Juneau and decide what to
do and select another night and ask for the kindness of his
presence and advise them, for he is going away and will not
have another chance for a month or two to talk with you.
Governor Brady: It is quite possible that the Government
will order me to Washington. If I go it will be soon after New Year.
(Interpreted to Thlingit by Fred Moore, Native.)